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Gait Analysis Methods for Assessing Fall Risk in Older Adults with Unilateral Transfemoral Amputation

Luther, Allison (2013) Gait Analysis Methods for Assessing Fall Risk in Older Adults with Unilateral Transfemoral Amputation. Master's Thesis, University of Pittsburgh. (Unpublished)

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The risk of falling in older adults has been widely investigated among the able-bodied population but there is little evidence identifying fall risk among older adults who have a unilateral transfemoral amputation. Older adult amputees have a loss of muscular control at the ankle and knee joints in the prosthetic limb and decreased muscle strength in the sound limb from aging. Previous research has investigated minimum foot clearance (MFC) to understand the risk of tripping while walking, and results show MFC decreases with age in able-bodied individuals. Changes in MFC have not been examined for older adults with unilateral transfemoral amputation, and in general, the methods for determining MFC must be modified for deviations in amputee gait. The first objective of this thesis was to develop a methodology for identifying MFC in older adult unilateral transfemoral amputees while walking over a level surface and during stair ambulation. Comparisons were made between the prosthetic limb and sound limb. Six older adult unilateral transfemoral amputees completed multiple walking and stair ambulation trials. Results showed 4 of 6 subjects had smaller MFC with the prosthetic limb compared to the sound limb while walking over a level surface. During stair ascent and descent, horizontal clearance of the prosthetic foot with respect to the step edge was typically greater than the sound limb. The methodology developed in this thesis allowed for identification of MFC regardless of unilateral transfemoral amputee gait style. The second objective was to investigate stumble recovery following obstruction of the prosthetic limb during swing. Results showed an elevating recovery strategy yielded a shorter recovery duration and smaller trunk deviation in the sagittal and frontal planes in comparison to a lowering strategy. The final objective was to develop a geometric model of the prosthetic limb for determining the mass, center of mass, and mass moment of inertia of its segments. Published anthropometric methods for determining these inertial properties in able-bodied individuals are inaccurate due to the amputation. The developed geometric model of the prosthetic limb successfully produced the inertial properties, and the model results were comparable to direct measurements taken for each segment.


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Item Type: University of Pittsburgh ETD
Status: Unpublished
CreatorsEmailPitt UsernameORCID
ETD Committee:
TitleMemberEmail AddressPitt UsernameORCID
Committee ChairCham, Rrcham@pitt.eduRCHAM
Committee MemberBurdett, Rrgb@pitt.eduRGB
Committee MemberChambers, April Jeannetteajcst49@pitt.eduAJCST49
Committee MemberRedfern, Markmredfern@pitt.eduMREDFERN
Date: 26 June 2013
Date Type: Publication
Defense Date: 28 February 2013
Approval Date: 26 June 2013
Submission Date: 20 March 2013
Access Restriction: 5 year -- Restrict access to University of Pittsburgh for a period of 5 years.
Number of Pages: 207
Institution: University of Pittsburgh
Schools and Programs: Swanson School of Engineering > Bioengineering
Degree: MS - Master of Science
Thesis Type: Master's Thesis
Refereed: Yes
Uncontrolled Keywords: gait, transfemoral amputee, older adult
Date Deposited: 26 Jun 2013 20:40
Last Modified: 26 Jun 2018 05:15


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